Gothic Revival Architecture Essay

This blogging hiatus isn’t going as planned, but that’s okay.I’m going to use this post as a testing ground for a paper I’ve been researching on domestic Gothic Revival architecture in the Kingston area.

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In 1796, William Beckford, escaping a sex scandal involving a teenage boy, began to build his immense Fonthill Abbey near his father’s Palladian mansion Fonthill Splendens, which he rather wantonly demolished a few years later.

Fast forward to 1860, and we have Colonel Ryland buying a (clearly not medieval) house in Hallowell township, which was remodelled over the next three years by Ryland and his wife into a Canadian castle.

This was likely due to a microcosm of local builders who were influenced by each other, and by other buildings in the area.

Prince Edward County also once contained Warwick House, later renamed Rickarton Castle, which you can read a bit more about on the blog Ancestral Roofs (spoiler alert: it was demolished).

I may consider it in my essay even though I’m focusing on non-church-related architecture.

In this post, I’m just going to go over some local examples of Gothic Revival and save the theory for my paper.

Most of the impetus for this judgement was people waxing poetic over the Canadian Parliament buildings.

However, the joke’s on them, because very little of English Gothic was actually used in the Parliament buildings, and that’s not even an architectural historian talking: that’s what the architects themselves said.

The eighteenth-century Gothic Revival was a different beast than its Victorian cousin, which advocated architectural precision, truth in materials, and period accuracy.

Despite being built in the 1840s, Elizabeth Cottage is in some ways more in keeping with the whimsical eighteenth-century mode.


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